Monday, January 18, 2016

Freight and Logistics Charity Transaid Ends Year on a High

Bicycle Project Brings Medical Access to Remote Areas
Shipping News Feature
NEW ZEALAND – MADAGASCAR – UK – International development charity and favourite of many in the freight and logistics sector, Transaid, has revealed that it ended the year on a high by exceeding its Christmas Appeal goal, raising a tremendous £27,557 to help the charity in its efforts to provide life-saving transport solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Transaid are involved in several projects that help developing countries get the much needed access to healthcare solutions they require, with one such recent project being the shipping of 361 bicycles from New Zealand to Madagascar.

Bicycles might well be about the lowest rung on the logistics ladder but two wheel transport can be an essential tool in reaching out to isolated communities where the alternative would be walking whilst trying to carry essential medical supplies. The donated bicycles will be supporting the USAID-financed Madagascar Community-Based Integrated Health Programme, known locally as MAHEFA.

Friends of Transaid and MAHEFA in New Zealand worked tirelessly to collect quality bicycles before stacking them into a shipping container headed to the Bemanonga Cooperative in Menabe, Western Madagascar. The bikes will be used for a micro-enterprise specialising in bicycle repair and sales, which will be called the ‘E-Box Mandroso’ locally. Gary Forster, CEO of Transaid, said:

“We are very grateful to our partners in New Zealand. In particular, we would like to thank New Zealand Post who donated almost 100 bikes previously used by postal workers, Hamburg Sud who donated the container and to SB Global Logistics who have coordinated the collection, dismantling and shipping of the bikes to Madagascar. These bicycles are helping to increase the reach of health workers in rural parts of Madagascar as well as helping stimulate the local economy with the creation of small businesses.”

The MAHEFA programme is led by the JSI Research & Training Institute, with support from partners Transaid and The Manoff Group. As part of efforts to mobilise and motivate volunteer community health volunteers (CHVs) in MAHEFA regions, the programme has put in place income generating activities (IGAs). MAHEFA has established bicycle repair shops and trained the volunteers in bicycle maintenance and small business management. The aim of these activities is to contribute both to the motivation of CHVs and to the sustainability of a wider MAHEFA bicycle empowerment programme by improving locally available bicycle mechanic expertise.

There are a number of benefits to the communities, as the CHVs receive income through the sales and repairs and a proportion of funds raised go directly to health activities in the community. Also, by significantly increasing the number of bicycles in these regions, the programme creates a critical mass of bicycles, which provides a market for bicycle repair and maintenance services and stimulates the local economy. When the bicycles are sold there is another benefit; the bicycles (both adult and youth) provide an important link for communities to allow them to better access to vital services such as health, education and markets. Chuanpit Chua-oon, JSI Chief of Party, said:

“These efforts by Transaid and their partners will enable dedicated community health volunteers to reach more people with health services and have the opportunity to sustain their efforts through income generation. We are proud of JSI’s partnership with Transaid and admire their work to engage global supporters in this component of the MAHEFA programme, which works to provide basic, quality health care to isolated populations in six north and north western regions of Madagascar.”